“If your child cannot study in a good kindergarten, then he or she cannot be easily accepted by a good elementary school. If he or she cannot received education in a good elementary school, then there is no chance to go to a top middle school, or competitive high school, or famous university. Then he or she cannot find a good job. The result would be: they would have a miserable life. I don’t want my child have that tragic life, so I have to send him to a very good kindergarten so that he won’t lose at the scratch line.” This is from a mother who spent more than 20,000RMB(most Chinese average income is less than 5,000RMB /month ) to reserve a place in a good kindergarten for her child in advance. Her son is just 3 months old.
Most parents who are from the generation after 1980s have the same logic and do the same thing. These parents mostly grew up under challenge and competition, so they want give their child a great learning environment. They send their child to best kindergarten in that city, best elementary school, best middle school and best high school. Even if lots of money is needed to go to these schools, they would work harder to make more money to let their kids go to better schools. They often say “Don’t let your child lose at the starting line”. They want their kids to be better than their little companions.
In China, kids usually should go to the kindergarten and schools in the school district where their apartment is. But parents who don’t have a living place in the school district where the top schools are, will spend lots of money and ask for many favors to get permission to send their child to study in those schools. Recently I read an article about a 30 year old couple who have 400,000 RMB income (=$66667 ) a month and still don’t have any confidence to have a child. They hope they can buy several apartments near these best schools in Beijing, so their child could always receive best education. This is an extreme example, but it reflects a new social problem of Chinese education.
More and more couples are suffering under the pressure both from the cruel reality and their parents. In China, the older generation always push the couple to give birth to a baby. But the couple usually are not confident to have a child with the education problem I mentioned above. So, lots of pressure!